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article imageNorway asked to help in destruction of Syrian chemical weapons

By Anne Sewell     Oct 21, 2013 in World
Oslo - Recently the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in Norway. Now Norway is being asked to take 500 tons of Syrian sarin gas in a bid to dispose of the chemical weapon.
First the Nobel organization in Norway gives a Peace Prize to OPCW for their work in achieving "almost universal adherence to the ban on these weapons, which cause terrible human suffering,” as stated by Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg.
Now the country gets to help destroy and do away with chemical weapons from Syria.
Norway has been asked by the UN to take, and dispose of, up to 500 tons of the deadly nerve agent Sarin as part of its role in the dismantling of Syria's chemical weapons program.
Besides the sarin, the consignment would also include around 50 tons of mustard gas, amounting to more than 50 percent of Syria's total chemical weapons stockpile.
Norway's foreign minister, Børge Brende told NRK (in Norwegian) on Sunday:
"Norway is now considering whether it is possible to assume a role in the destruction."
"We have appointed a team of experts who will investigate over the coming days if this is possible to do in Norway."
Along with Norway, Belgium and Albania have also been asked if they can take responsibility for a portion of the stockpile, according to an internal UN memo.
Norway's involvement was immediately criticized by one of the leading politicians in the Progress Party, Christian Tybring-Gjedde, who said:
"I do not see the point of bringing weapons into Norway. We have so far as I know never produced any chemical weapons, and I doubt we have the expertise to destroy them."
However, it is thought most likely that Syria's chemical weapons are not prepared gas, but chemicals that can be used to make sarin gas.
Bjørn Are Johnsen, an expert on chemical weapons at the Norwegian Defense's Research Institute told NRK, "This makes it a lot easier, but also safer, to transport and destruct the weapons."
In September this year, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad agreed to dismantle the country's chemical weapons program in an effort to avoid a US-led military strike on the country.
It is estimated that Syria's military Syria's military holds around 1,000 tons of chemical weapons, stored at hundreds of different sites around the civil war torn country.
More about Norway, Syria, Syrian, sarin gas, Chemical weapons
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